Vermont Community Garden Network
December 2014 Newsletter
"To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves. "
~Mahatma Gandhi 
 

As the cold moves in and we see less of the sun, let us not forget what a beautiful growing season we had and how nice the sunshine felt with our hands in the dirt. The image above captures the peak of the season at the Champlain Street Garden. 
 
As 2014 winds down, we send many thanks to all of the volunteers, supporters, donors, gardeners, and partner organizations that made this year a success!

~ Jess, Libby, Ann, Denise, and Dory 
 
A HUGE Thank You to Our 2014 Volunteers!
 

We believe in the power of people growing food (and volunteering) together to strengthen food security and build community! 

 

2014 was a very exciting year for VCGN including strengthening the statewide network, coordinating two successful Community Teaching Garden sites, seven Gardens for Learning sites, and 13 Grow It! Garden Organizer Trainings, as well as providing support for nine Green Thumbs At Work employee gardens. In addition, we were a part of more than 20 community events and projects - sharing our message, helping children and adults experience the magic of starting seeds, growing, preparing and sharing good food, helping build new gardens, and enhancing existing ones.

 

We owe much of our success to the 221 active volunteers, who contributed 1,322 hours this year!  We are also grateful to be a City Market Community Outreach Partner, with its member worker program, which sent many volunteers our way.

 

Here's a sampling of this year's volunteer supported events and activities:

  • An Evening of Artful Dining and Artful Gardening at Gardener's Supply
  • 4th Annual Burlington Seed Swap and Potluck
  • Atlantic Crossing benefit concert
  • Vermont Home & Garden Show
  • Day in the Dirt!
  • Burlap Bag Sale at ONE Plant Sale
  • CSWD Compost Jam
  • CVOEO Garden Day
  • Sweet Potato sale at Red Wagon Plants
  • EAT x NE
  • Garden Harvest Party at Winooski Valley Park District's Ethan Allen Homestead
  • City Market's Harvest Celebration
  • Halloween at the Homestead

In the office:

  • Keeping our online calendar up-to-date, various data entry and organizing projects
  • Seeds For Gardens packing and mailing
  • Fundraising Appeal mailing & data entry
  • Postering for events

In the gardens:

  • Garden Building Day at Robin's Nest Day Care
  • 12-22 North Street garden maintenance and clean ups
  • Ethan Allen Residence raised beds construction
  • Community Teaching Gardens maintenance and clean-ups
Want to get involved as a volunteer for 2015?
Sign up 
here or check out our volunteer page.
Successful School Garden Video Series

Check out our three new VCGN videos highlighting the success stories of a few school gardens in the state. The videos were produced by David Littlefield through our Vermont Agency of Agriculture Farm to School Grant.

Garden Spotlight: Project Inspiration
As you plan for 2015 with your school or community garden, don't forget to think outside of the box. Here are a few examples of creative, fun, and innovative projects from gardens around the state!
 

Lothrop Elementary School's Pollinator Program 

  • The year started off with a field trip to Champlain Valley Apiaries, to inspire students. 
  • The students researched pollinator species worldwide, colony collapse disorder, pesticide pressures, and local plant species favored by honeybees. 
  • They created graphics for honey recipes, drew the life cycle of honeybees, voiced over sock-puppet skits and viewed honeybees with an electron microscope.
  • Lothrop held a Honeybee High Tea with students and their families with honey inspired recipes made by the students.
  • The art teacher, jumped on board and created torn art pictures of pollinators' favorite plant species, bee centerpieces for the High Tea, and bee shirts with bee slogans like "Save the bees," "Bees love dandelions," and "Don't use pesticides" for BEE Day. 
  • Coming this fall is the "Year of the Cow." 

Putney Community Garden's Workshops

  • The garden leaders held an Insect identification Workshop for garden members to identify bugs that live in the garden and whether or not they are harmful.  Potato beetles were a popular find and the group of 12 worked together to eradicate them as best they could.  
  • The workshops have been a successful way to keep members excited about and involved in the garden.

Tinmouth Elementary School's Snack Bar & Mini-Gardens

  • Tinmouth Elementary School gets the little ones involved with care-free, hands on, rule-less features of the hillside garden, which help students develop an appreciation for fresh food through exploration and ownership.  
  • The garden includes "Snack bars" - raised beds planted with students' favorite veggie snacks, including butter-crunch lettuce, carrots, and broccoli.  Students are encouraged to munch on whichever plant they please.
  • The "Mini-gardens" are 2x3 ft plots where students can plant, grow, and experiment to their hearts content without adults or other students stepping in to take over.  
  • These activities promote nutrition education, hands on learning, and responsibility.
Do you have a great garden idea, but lack resources or funds to make your dreams a reality? Check out the opportunities at right and the year-round grant listings on our website! 
NOFA-VT Winter Conference 

Save the Date! The 33rd Annual NOFA-VT Winter Conference will take place February 14 & 15, 2015 at the University of Vermont in Burlington. The conference includes VCGN's 4th Annual Community and School Garden Track.

Registration opens in January 2015.

Call for Proposals: Garden Showcase 2015

 

VCGN is pleased to partner again with Northeast Organic Farming Association-Vermont, for our 4th annual Community and School Garden Track at the NOFA-VT Winter Conference. As a part of our specialized track on Sunday, Feb. 15, VCGN will be hosting the annual VCGN Gathering over the lunchtime hour, with a return of the Garden Showcase.  The VCGN Gathering is an opportunity to meet other garden leaders, swap ideas, see innovative work from around the state, and learn more about upcoming network opportunities.

 

We are seeking gardens to be featured in our Garden Showcase.  This is an opportunity for a select number of community and school gardens to share their work through a visual display (i.e. poster, photos), this year focused on how community-based gardens address inclusion and accessibility.  We're looking for community and school garden groups or projects that are actively working to:

  • Reach a group of people that might otherwise not have access to fresh, healthy food and/or
  • Reach a group of people that might otherwise not have access to the space, resources, and/or know-how to grow their own food.

We ask that featured groups have a representative standing by during the hour-long session to answer questions and discuss their efforts further.  Best comparison to this sort of presentation would be something like a science fair or poster session.

 

Do you have a group or project you'd like to feature?  If so, submit your proposal in our online form

 

Please submit proposals no later than Tuesday, Dec. 16.  Limited space available.  Showcase groups will receive $20 to help with the cost of travel.

Since 2001, the Vermont Community Garden Network (formerly known as Friends of Burlington Gardens) has worked with community and school groups to start, sustain and grow gardens, building strong local food systems and vibrant educational sites.

The monthly VCGN Newsletter provides garden-based news, resources, and events to more than 2,000 gardeners and garden leaders all over the state.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Send your garden news and events to info@vcgn.org. For even more current information and updates, connect to VCGN and other gardens on Facebook and Twitter.

We'd love to hear from you!

Jess Hyman, Executive Director
Libby Weiland, Program Manager
Ann Pearce, Volunteer Coordinator/Admin
Denise Quick, Community Teaching Garden Instructor
Dory Cooper, Communications Intern/Newsletter Editor
In This Issue
Be a part of 
the state's vibrant community and school garden network.
We need YOUR help to keep growing gardens, gardeners, and garden leaders.
VCGN is Hiring!

We are pleased to announce an opening for a Garden Education Specialist in 2015! This year-round, part-time position will support VCGN's local garden education programs and share best practices in garden education statewide. Application deadline Monday, Dec. 15. Full job description.

We also have Spring Communications and Garden Network internship openings. Application deadline Friday, Jan. 9. Click here for more information.

Stone Wall Workshop Learn basic techniques for creating dry laid walls with native Vermont stones. Jan 10, 8:30am-3:30pm, Red Wagon Plants, Hinesburg. More info.
NEK Permaculture Group: Short presentation followed by Q & A, brainstorming and networking. Come share skills, resources, or lend a hand to your neighbors while learning through experience. 6-7pm, 2nd Thursday of each month in Craftsbury. Free, all welcome. More info.
Register for 2015 Extension Master Gardener Course

This non-credit course covers the basics of home horticulture and what it means to be a Extension Master Gardener. 
 
Course topics include: 
  • Botany Basics
  • Entomology
  • Plant Diseases
  • Food Production
  • Soil Fertility
  • Perennials and Annuals
  • Sustainable Landscaping
  • Rain Gardens
  • Turf and Weeds
  • Invasive Plant & Pest Control
  • UVM Extension Volunteering.

Register here. 

"The Woodchuck Returns to the Garden"
A new book by our friend Ron Krupp, who brought you "The Woodchuck's Guide to Gardening." His new guide goes through 2 full years of his gardening experience and the differences of each season. It features journal entries, poems, and the"Chuckster." For more info and to order,  click here or listen to his interview on VPR.

GRANT ALERT!


Start planning for
2015 today!

 

Sow it Forward Grant (due Jan 9) - Kitchen Gardeners International is offering 160 grants of $500 or $325 to organizations interested in expanding or starting a community garden. Deadline Jan. 9, 2015. 

More info.

 

SEED (revolving deadline) - New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) is offering grants of up to $1,000  for community-based  projects. More info.


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